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i see our trade deficit with china larger than it's -- grows larger ever year as a matter of fact. i look around the world and i don't feel that you see north korea continuing to export their nuclear technology. russian says they are not going to follow. back away from nuclear proliferation treaty we had with them. i look around the world and i don't see our influence growing around the world i see our influence receding in part due to the president failing to due to our economic challenges at home failure commitment to our military the way i think it ought to be. in part because of the turmoil with israel. i mean, the president received a letter from 38 democrat senators saying that tensions with israel are a real problem. they asked him please repair the tension. democrat senators please repair the -- from his own party. >> governor, the problem is is
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that on a whole range of issues, whether it's the middle east, whether it's afghanistan, whether it's iraq, whether it's now iran, you have been all over the map. i mean, i'm pleased that you now are endorsing our policy of applying diplomatic pressure. and potentially having bilateral discussions with the iranians to end their nuclear program. but, just a few years ago, you said that's something you would never do. in the same way that you initially opposed a timetable in afghanistan. now you are for it. although it depends. in the same way that you say you would have ended the war in iraq, but recently gave a speech saying that we should have 20,000 more folks in there. the same way that you said that it was mission creep to go after qaddafi. when it comes to going after usama bin laden, you said well
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any president would make that call. but, when you were a candidate in 2008, as i was, and i said if i got bin laden in our sights, i would take that shot. you said we shouldn't move heaven and earth to get one man. and you said we should ask pakistan for permission. and if we had asked pakistan permission, we would not have gotten him. it was worth moving and heaven and earth to get him. after we killed bin laden, i was at ground zero for a memorial and talked to a young woman who was four years old when 9/11 happened. and the last conversation she had with her father was him calling from the twin towers saying peyton, i love you and i will always watch over you. and for the next decade, she was haunted by that conversation. and she said to me, you know, by finally getting bin laden, that brought some closure to me. and when we do things like
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that, when we bring those who have harmed us to justice, that sends a message to the world and it tells peyton that we did not forget her father. >> all right. >> and i make that point because that's the kind of clarity of leadership and those decisions are not always popular. those decisions generally are not poll tested and even some in my own party including my current vice president had the same critique as you did. but what the american people understand is is that i look at what we need to get done to keep the american people safe and to move our interest forward and i make those decisions. >> all right. let's go and that leads us, this takes us right to the next segment, governor. america's longest war, afghanistan and pakistan. >> bob, governor, you get to go first. >> but you can't have the president just lay out a whole series of items without giving me a chance to respond. >> with respect, sir, you had laid out quite a program. >> there that's probably true. [ laughter ] >> we will give you. >> we will agree on that. >> we will catch up.
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the united states is scheduled to take over responsibility for security in afghanistan to the afghan government in 2014. at that point we will withdraw our combat troops, leave a smaller force of americans, if i understand our policy, in afghanistan for training purposes. it seems to me the key question here is what do you do if the deadline arrives and it is obvious the afghans are unable to handle their security? do we still leave? and i believe, governor romney, you go first. >> we will be finished by 2014. and when i'm president, we'll make sure we bring our troops out by the end of 2014. the commanders and the generals there are on track to do so. we have seen progress over the past several years. the surge has been successful. and the training program is proceeding at pace. there are now a large number of afghan security forces, 350,000 that are ready to step
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in to provide security. and we're going to be able to make that transition by the end of 2014. so our troops will come home at that point. i can tell you at the same time that we will make sure that -- we look at what's happening in pakistan and recognize what's happening in pakistan is going to have a major impact on the success in afghanistan. and i say that because i know a lot of people just feel like we just just brush our hands and walk away, i don't mean you, mr. president, some people in our nation feel that pakistan is being nice to us and that we should just walk away from them. pakistan is important to the region, to the world, and to us. because pakistan has 100 nuclear warheads and they are rushing to build a lot more. they have more than great britain sometime in the relatively near future. they also have the network and the taliban existent within their country. so a pakistan that falls apart because a failed state would be of extraordinary danger to afghanistan and to us.
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and so we're going to have to remain helpful in encouraging pakistan to move towards a more stable government and rebuild a relationship with us. that means that our aid that we provide to pakistan is going to have to be conditioned upon certain bench marks being met. so, for me, i look at this as both a need to help move pakistan in the right direction and also to get afghanistan to be ready and they will be ready by the end of 2014. >> mr. president? >> when i came into office, we were still bogged down in iraq and afghanistan had been drifting for a decade. we ended the war in iraq, refocused our attention on afghanistan. and we did deliver a surge of troops. that was facilitated in part because we had ended the war in iraq. and we are now in a position where we have met many of the objectives that got us there in the first place. part of what had happened is we had forgotten why we had
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gone. we went because there were people who were responsible for 3,000 american deaths. and so we disseminated al qaeda's core leadership in the border regions between afghanistan and pakistan. we then started to build up afghan forces. and we're now in a position where we can transition out. because there is no reason why americans should die when afghans are perfectly capable of defending their own country. now, that transition has to take place in a responsible fashion. we have been there a long time, and we have got to make sure that we and our coalition partners are pulling out responsibly and giving afghans the capabilities that they need. but, what i think the american people recognize is after a decade of war, it's time to do some nation-building here at home. and what we can now do is free up some resources to, for example, put americans back to work, especially our veterans. rebuilding our roads, our
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bridges, our schools. making sure that, you know, our veterans are getting the care that they need when it comes to post-traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injury, making sure that the certifications that they need for good jobs of the future are in place. you know, i was having lunch with some -- a veteran in minnesota who had been a medic dealing with the most extreme circumstances when he came home and he wanted to become a nurse, he had to start from scratch. and what we have said is let's change those certifications. the first lady has done great work with an organization called joining forces, putting our veterans back to work. and as a consequence, veterans' unemployment is actually now lower than the general population. it was higher when i came into office. those are the kinds of things that we can now do because we're making that transition in afghanistan. >> all right. let me go to governor romney. because you talked about pakistan and what needs to be done there.
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general allen, our commander in afghanistan, says that americans continue to die at the hands of groups who are supported by pakistan. we know pakistan has arrested the doctor who helped us catch obama's bin laden, it still provides safe haven for terrorists, yet, would he he continue to give pakistan billions of dollars. is it full-time for -- is it time for us to divorce pakistan? >> no, it's not time for us to divorce a nation on earth that has 100 nuclear weapons and is on the way to double that at some point. a nation that has a serious threats from terrorist groups within its nation. as i indicated before the taliban haqqani network. it's a nation that's not like others and it does not have the civilian leadership that's calling the shots there you have the isi, their intelligence organization is probably the most powerful of three branches there. then you have the military and then you have the civilian
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government. this is a nation which, if it falls apart, if it becomes a failed state, there are nuclear weapons there. you have got terrorists there who can grasp their hands -- grab their hands on those nuclear weapons. this is an important part of the world for us. pacific stan is technically an ally. and they are not acting very much like an ally right now. we have some work to do. i don't blame the administration for the fact that the relationship with pakistan is strained. we had to go into pakistan. we had to go in there to get usama bin laden. that was the right thing to do. and that upset them but there was obviously a great deal of anger even before that but we're going to have to work with the people in pakistan to try and help them move to a more responsible course than the one that they are on. it's important for them. it's important for the nuclear weapons. it's important for the success of afghanistan because inside pakistan you have a large
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taliban they are going to come rushing back into afghanistan when we go. that's one of the reasons the afghan security forces have so much work to do to be able to fight against that but it's important for us to recognize that we can't just walk away from pakistan. but we do need to make sure as we send support for them that this is tied to them making progress on matters that would lead them to becoming a civil society. >> let me ask you, governor, because we know president obama's position on this. what is your position on the use of drones? >> well, i believe that we should use any and all means necessary to take out people who pose a threat to us and our friends around the world. and it's widely reported that drones are being used in drone strikes and i support that entirely. and feel the president was right to up the usage of that technology and believe that we should continue to use it, to continue to go after the people who represent a threat to this nation and to our friends. let me also note that as i said earlier, we're going to
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have to do more than just going after leaders and killing bad guys. important as that is, we're also going to have to have a far more effective and comprehensive strategy to help move the world away from terror and islamic extremism. we haven't done that yet. we talk a lot about these things. but you look at the record over the last four years and say is iran closer to a bomb? yes. is the middle east in temult? yes. is al qaeda on the run? on its heels? no. are israel and the palestinians closer to reaching a peace agreement? no. they haven't had talks in two years. we have not seen the progress we need to have and i'm convinced that with strong leadership and an effort to build a strategy based upon helping these nations reject extremism we can see the kind of peace and prosperity the world demands. >> keep in mind our strategy wasn't just going after bin laden. we have created partnerships throughout the region to deal
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with extremism in somalia, in yemen, in pakistan. and what we have also done is engage these governments in the kind of reforms that are actually going to make a difference in people's lives day to day. to make sure that their governments aren't corrupt, to make sure that they are treating women with the kind of respect and dignity that every nation that succeeds has shown. and to make sure that they have got a free market system that works. so, across the board, we are engaging them in building capacity in these countries and we have stood on the side of democracy. one thing i think americans should be proud of, when tunisians began protesting, this nation, me, my administration stood with them earlier than just about any other country. in egypt, we stood on the side of democracy. in libya, we stood on the side of the people. and as a consequence, there is
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no doubt that attitudes about americans have changed. but they are always going to be elements in these countries that potentially threaten the united states. and we want to shrink those groups and those networks and we can do that, but we're always -- also going to have to maintain vigilance when it comes to terrorist activity. the truth is though that al qaeda is much weaker than it was when i came into office and they don't have the same capacities to attack the u.s. homeland and our allies as they did four years ago. >> let's go to the next segment because it's a very important one. it is the rise of china and future challenges for america. i want to just begin this by asking both of you and, mr. president, you go first this time. what do you believe is the greatest future threat to the national security of this country? >> well, i think it will continue to be terrorist
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networks. we have to remain vigilant as i just said. but with respect to china, china is both an adversary but also a potential partner in the international community if it's following the rules. so my attitude coming into office was that we are going to insist that china plays by the same rules as everybody else. now, i know americans had seen jobs being shipped overseas, businesses and workers not getting a level playing field when it came to trade. and that's the reason why i set up a trade task force to it go after cheaters when it came to international trade. that's the reason why we have brought more cases against china for violating trade rules than the other -- the previous administration had done in two terms. and we have won just about every case that we have filed. that has been decided. in fact, just recently, steel
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workers in ohio and throughout the midwest, pennsylvania, are in a position now to sell steel to china because we won that case. we had a tire case in which they were flooding us with cheap domestic tires, our cheap chinese tigers, and we put -- tires, ande put a stop to it save jobs throughout america. i have to say that governor romney criticized me for being too tough in that tire case, said this wouldn't be good for american workers and it would be protectionist. i will tell it you those workers don't feel that way. they feel as if they had finally an administration who was going to take this issue seriously. over the long term, in order for us to compete with china, we have also got to make sure though that we are taking care of business here at home. if we don't have the best education system in the world, if we don't continue to put money into research and technology, that will allow us to create great businesses here in the united states, that's how we lose the
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competition and unfortunately, governor romney's budget and his proposals would not allow us to make those investments. >> all right. governor? >> well, first of all, it's not government that makes business successful. it's not government investments that make businesses grow and hire people. let me also note that the greatest threat that the world faces, the greatest national security threat is a nuclear iran. let's talk about china. china has an interest that's very much like ours, in one respect. that is they want a stable world. they don't want war. they don't don't want to see protectionism. they don't want to see the world break out into various forms of chaos because they have to manufacture goods and put penal to work and they have about 20 million people coming out of the farms every year, coming into the cities, needing jobs. so they want the economy to work and the world to be free and open. and so we can be a partner with china. we don't have to be an adversary. in any way, shape, or form, we can work with them, we can
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collaborate with them if they are willing to be responsible. now, they look at us and say is it a good idea to be with america? how strong are we going to be? how strong is our economy? they look at the fact that we owe them a trillion dollars and owe other people 16 trillion in total, including them. they look at our decision to cut back on our military capabilities a trillion dollars. the secretary of defense called these trillion dollars of cuts to our military devastating. it's not my term. it's the president's own secretary of defense called them devastating. they look at america's commitments around the world and they see what's happening and they say well, okay, is america going to be strong? and the answer is yes. if i'm president, america will be very strong. we'll also make sure that we have trade relations with china that work for us. i have watched year in and year out as companies have shut down and people have lost their jobs because china has not played by the same rules. in part by holding down artificially the value of their currency.
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it holds down the prices of their goods. it means our goods aren't as competitive, and we lose jobs. that's got to end. they are making some progress. they need to make more. that's why on day one i will label them a currency membershipper. -- manipulator. which allows us to apply tariffs. they are stealing our intellectual property patents, design, technology. hacking into our computers, counterfeiting our goods. they have to understand we want to trade with them, we want a world that's stable. we like free enterprise but you have got to play by the rules. >> governor, let me just ask you, if you declare them a currency manipulator on day one, some people would say you are just going to start a trade war with china on day one. is that -- isn't there a risk that that could happen? >> well, they sell us about this much stuff every year. and we sell them about this much stuff every year. so it's pretty clear who doesn't want a trade war. and there is one going on right now which we don't know about. it's a silent one. and they are winning.
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we have enormous trade balance with china and it's worse this year than last year and worse last year than the year before. and so we have to understand that we can't just surrender and lose jobs year in and year out, we have to say to our friends in china, look, you guys are playing aggressively, we understand it. but this can't keep on going. you can't keep on holding down the value of your currency, stealing our intellectual property, counterfeiting our products, selling them around the world, even into the united states. i was with one company that makes valves in process industries, they said look we were having valves coming in that were broken and we had to repair them under warranty and we looked them up and they had our serial number on them and we noticed there was more than one with that serial number there were counterfeit products being made overseas with the same serial number as the u.s. company. the same packaging, these were being sold into our market and around the world as if they were made by the u.s. competitor. this can't go on.
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i want to a great relationship with china. china can be our partner. but that doesn't mean they can just roll all over us and steal our jobs on an unfair basis. >> well, governor romney is right. you are familiar with jobs being shipped overseas because you invested in companies that were shipping jobs overseas. and, you know, that's your right. i mean, that's how our free market works. but i have made a different bet on american workers. if we had taken your advice, governor romney about our auto industry, we would be buying cars from china instead of selling cars to china. if we take your advice with respect to how we change our tax code so that companies that earn profits overseas don't pay u.s. taxes compared to companies here that are paying taxes, now that's estimated to create 800,000 jobs, the problem is they won't be here they will be in places like china. and if we're not making investments in education and basic research, which is not something that the private sector is doing at a
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sufficient pace right now and has never done, then we will lose the lead in things like clean energy technology. now, with respect to what we have done with china already, u.s. exports have doubled since i came into office to china. and actually currencies are at their most advantageous point for u.s. exporters since 1993. absolutely have to make more progress. that's why we are going to keep on pressing. and when it comes to our military and chinese security, farther part of -- part of the reason that we were able to pivot to the pacific region after having ended the war in iraq and transitioning out of afghanistan is precisely because this is going to be a massive growth area in the future. and we believe china can be a partner but we're also sending a very clear signal that america is a pacific power. that we are going to have a preference there. we are working with countries
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in the region to make sure, for example, that ships can pass through that commerce continues. and we're organizing trade relations with countries other than china so that china starts feeling more pressure about meeting basic international standards. that's the kind of leadership we have shown in the region. that's the kind of leadership that we'll continue to show. >> i just want to take one of those points, again, attacking me is not talking about an agenda for getting more trade and opening up more jobs in this country. but the president mentioned the auto industry and somehow i would be in favor of jobs being elsewhere. nothing could be further from the truth. i'm a son of detroit. i was born in detroit. my dad was head of a car company. i like american cars. and i would do nothing to hurt the u.s. auto industry. my plan to get the industry on its feet when it was in real trouble was not to start writing checks. it was president bush that wrote the first checks. i disagreed with that. i said these companies need to
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go through a managed bankruptcy and in that process they can get government help and government guarantees but they need to go through a bankruptcy to get rid of excess cost and the debt burden that they had built up. and fortunately. >> governor romney that's not what you said. >> you can take a look at the op-ed. i am still speaking. i said we would provide guarantees and that what is what was able to allow these companies to go through bankruptcy to come out of bankruptcy under no circumstances would i do anything other than to help this industry get on its feet. and the idea that as has been suggested that i would leg liquidate the industry of course not. >> let's check the record. >> that's a height of silliness i have never said i would liquidate the industry. >> people in detroit don't forget. >> that's why i have the kind of commitment to make sure that our industries in this country can compete and be successful. we, in this country can compete successfully with anyone in the world and we're
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going to. we're going to have to have a president, however, that doesn't think that somehow the government investing in car companies like tesla and fisker, making electric battery cars, this is not research, mr. president, this is the government investing in companies. investing in solyndra. this is a company. this isn't basic research. i want to invest in research. research is great. providing funding to universities and think tanks are great. but investing in companies, absolutely not. that's the wrong way to go. i'm still speaking. i want to make sure we make america more competitive and we do those things that make america the most attractive place in the world for entrepreneurs innovators, businesses to grow, but you're investing in companies doesn't do that in fact, it makes it less likely for them to come here because the private sector is not going to invest in a solar company if you're investing in someone else's. >> look, i think anybody out there can check the record.
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governor romney you keep on trying to, you know, air brush history here. you were very clear that you would not provide government assistance to the u.s. auto companies even if they went through bankruptcy. you said that they could get it in the private marketplace. that wasn't true. they would have gone through. >> you are wrong. you are wrong, mr. president. >> no, i am not wrong. >> people can look it up, you are right. >> people will look it up. but more importantly, it is true that in order for us to be competitive, we're going to have to make some smart choices right now. cutting our education budget, that's not a smart choice. that will not help us compete with china. cutting our investments in research and technology, that's not a smart choice. that will not help us compete with china. bringing down our deficit by adding $7 trillion of tax cuts and nirlt spending that our -- military spending that our military is not asking for before we get to the debt that
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we currently have, that is not going to make us more competitive. those are the kinds of choices the american people face right now. having a tax code that rewards companies that are shipping jobs overseas instead of companies that are investing here in the united states. that will not make us more competitive. and the one thing that i'm absolutely clear about, is that after a decade this in which we sawrift, jobs being shipped overseas, nobody championing american workers and american businesses we have now begun to make real progress. what we can't do is go back to the same policies that got us into such difficulty in the first place. that's why we have to move forward and not go back. >> i couldn't agree about going forward but i certainly don't want to go back to the policies of the last four years. the policies of the last four years has seen incomes in america decline every year for middle income families. now down $4,300 during your term. 23 million americans still struggling to find a good job.
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when you came to office 32 million people on food stamps. today 47 million people on food stamps. when you came to office just over 10 trlz -- $10 trillion in debt. now $16 trillion in debt. it hasn't worked. you said by now we would be at 5.4% unemployment. we are 9 million jobs short of that i have met some of those people. i have met them in appleton, wisconsin. i met a young woman in philadelphia who is coming out of college, can't find work. i have been -- ann was with someone just the other day just weeping about not being able to get work. it's just a tragedy in a nation so prosperous as ours that the last four years have been so hard. and that's why it's so critical that we make america once again the most attractive place in the world to start businesses, to build jobs, to grow the economy, and that's not going to happen by just hiring teachers. look, i love teachers. and i'm happy to have states and communities that want to hire teachers to do that by
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the way i don't like to have the federal government start pushing its way deeper and deeper into our schools. let the states and locates do that. i was a governor. the federal government didn't hire our teachers i love teachers but i want to get our private sector growing and i think i know how to do it. >> i think we all love teachers. governor, thank you so much for a very vigorous debate. we have come to the end. it is time for closing statements. i believe you're first, mr. president. >> well, thank you very much, bob, governor romney, and to lynn university. you have now heard three debates. months of campaigning and way too many tv commercials. [ laughter ] and now you have got a choice. over the last four years we have made real progress digging our way out of policies that gave us two prolonged wars, record deficits, and the worst economic crisis since the great depression. and governor romney wants to take us back to those policies. foreign policy that is wrong and reckless, economic
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policies that won't create jobs, won't reduce our deficit but will make sure that folks at the very top don't have to play by the same rules that you do. and i have got a different vision for america. i want to build on our strengths. and i put forward a plan to make sure that we are bringing manufacturing jobs back to our shores by rewarding companies and small businesses that are investing here, not overseas. i want to make sure we have got the best education system in the world. we're retaining our workers for the jobs of tomorrow. i want to control our own energy by developing oil and natural gas but also the energy sources of the future. yes, i want to reduce our deficit by cutting spending that we don't need but also by asking the wealthy to do a little bit more. so that we can invest in things like research and technology that are the key to a 21st century economy. as commander and chief, i will maintain the strongest military in the world, keep faith with our troops and go after those who would do us
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harm. but after a decade of war, i think we all recognize we have got to do some nation-building here at home, rebuilding our roads, our bridges and especially caring for our veterans who sacrifice so much for our freedom. and we have been through tough times. but we always bounce back because of our character. because we pull together. and if i have the privilege of being your president for another four years, i promise you i will always listen to your voices. i will fight forever -- for your families. and i will work every single day to make had sure america continues to be the greatest nation on earth. thank you. >> governor? >> thank you, bob, mr. president, folks at lynn university, good to be with you. i'm optimistic about the future. i'm excited about our prospects as a nation. i want to see peace. i want to see growing peace in this country. it's our objective. we have an opportunity to have real leadership. america is going to have that kind of leadership and continue to promote principles of peace that will make the
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world a safer place and make people in this country more confident that their future is secure. i also want to make sure that we get this economy going. and there are two very different paths the country can take. one is a path represented by the president which at the end of four years would mean we would have $20 trillion in debt heading towards greece. i will get us on track to a balanced budget. the president's path will mean continuing declining in take home pay. i want to make sure our take home pay turns around and starts to grow. the president's path means 20 million people out of work struggling for a good job. i will get people back to work with 12 million new jobs. i am going to make sure that we get people off of food stamps not by cutting the program but by getting them good jobs. america is going to come back and for that to happen, we're going to have to have a president to can work across the aisle. i was in a state where my legislature was 87% democrat. i learned how to get along on the other side of the aisle. we have got to do that in
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washington. washington is broken. i know what it takes to get this country back and we'll work with good democrats and good republicans to do that. this nation is the hope of the earth. we have been blessed by having a nation that's free and prosperous, thanks to the contributions of the greatest generation. they have held a torch for the world to see, a torch of freedom and hope and opportunity. now it's our turn to take that torch. i'm convinced we will do it. we need strong leadership. i would like to be that leader with your support. i will work with you. i will lead you in an open and honest way. and i ask for your vote. i would like to be the next president of the united states to support and help this great nation and to make sure that we all together maintain america as the hope of the earth. thank you so much. >> gentlemen, thank you both so much. that brings an end to this year's debates and we want to thank lynn university and its students for having us. as i always do at the end of these debates, i leave you with the words of my mom who
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said: go vote. make you feel big and strong. >> that's great. >> good night. >> thank you, bob. >> thank you. [ applause ] [ applause ] >> the third and final debate of this presidential election season is now in the books. while the first question in this debate focused on libya, the fireworks predicted on that topic never materialized,
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megyn, governor romney did not press the administration's handling of libya but did say the president is turning his back on an increasing threat from radical islam around the middle east. the president went on the offense numerous times through the this debate and particularly intense exchange he accused romney of being wrong on foreign policy every time he is offered an opinion. governor romney fired back saying attacking me is not an agenda. as predicted, the debate turned about 15 minutes in to domestic policy and the u.s. economy. governor romney did attack president obama for a lack of leadership on syria. tonight the president reiterating that syrian president bashar assad, his days are numbered a year after saying really the same thing and after more than 30,000 syrians have died there. governor romney, perhaps struggled to put distance between his policy and obama policy saying he clearly did not want to pledge u.s. troops to any operation in syria. there is no political appetite for u.s. intervention in
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syria. that was clear in his answers. and, finally, one thing i noted in his come back line to governor romney saying that the u.s. now has the smallest navy since 1917, president obama shot back saying it's a different time that we don't have horses and bayonets either and we have big aircraft carriers and submarines that go under water. and while that line got a lot of laughs here in the hall and probably got some debate points, it will be interesting to see how it played at home, if it came off as petty at all or may have minimized some of the concerns of many in the navy who voice concern about the current navy, especially in a place like the battleground of virginia. by the way, the total time megyn the president 42, governor romney 41 minutes 30 seconds. megyn? >> megyn: bret, out here, we were watching it together and wondering whether mitt romney was struggling to put distance between himself and barack obama's policies or whether that was exactly his plan
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going into the evening to put that distance between the two men. it was a very different i do ma'am nic. mitt romney staring at barack obama. some suggesting he may have look at little angry or acted a little bit more aggressively. mitt romney smiling and sort of the obama team put it the other day the happy warrior in debate. took a complete pass on libya as you mentioned and talked about how we deal with these extremists saying we can't kill our way out of this mess and talking about later how we want a peaceful planet. accusing president obama a failure to lead. making his points more on overall policy failure and obama team part saying our influence in the world is receding. much as he did in that debate last week where he gave one answer, mitt romney did, that summed up his positions on the economy. that one sound bite that got repeated over in over in the days that followed. he attempted to do the same tonight on foreign policy when
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he talked about the situation in syria. he talked about 30,000 dead and a failure to lead in his view. chaos in the middle east, jihadists continuing to spread. iran four years closer to iran. trade war with china. korean expanding nuclear technology. that seemed to be where he was going with his line. one piece of news on the sequestration that's heading our way, and whether these defense cuts are going to happen to our military. the president making a bit of news there. he first blamed the congress, which is not news. but then said it's not going to happen. so that is interesting. because right now it is going to happen. but maybe the president knows something we don't. we're going to get right to our panel now. senior writer for "the weekly standard" steve haste and former howard dean manager and fox news contributor joe trippi. joe? >> i just wanted to call it debate the big hug. because i think that's what romney was doing. he decided he was going to hug obama on policy after policy, not disagree with him.
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i mean, it was amazing, agreed with him on syria, not sending troops. in agreed with him on iran. said we should have the catastrophic tough sanctions but he would have done it a little earlier. all of it was, again, trying to -- i think, look, the strategy was to not let obama paint him as the reckless guy who was going to take the country to war. so, he was in there with principles for peace. and agreeing with the president far more than disagreeing with him and didn't even take him on on the libya and benghazi stuff which was -- i mean, literally walked away from the question without really engaging on it. i think that the president was very aggressive and it's hard to win a debate when you are not in that mode, in the aggressive mode that we saw romney n the first debate and the president was more. i think we saw a switch in roles. nowhere near the differential in that first debate. i think the president had an
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edge tonight. >> i don't think he had an edge. i agree you can't really win a debate unless you are aggressive. but you can lose one. i don't think the president necessarily came out of this as a loser. i really wonder how some of these lines that he deployed against mitt romney played at home tonight. it seemed to me that early in the debate, the first ten minutes the president seemed to cross the line between being aggressive and critical, seeking to provide contrast. and being down right disrespectful. there were several times when he said there is one time where he said to mitt romney i'm glad you recognize al qaeda as a threat. really? i mean is there anyone who doesn't recognize al qaeda and the threat? there is another time where he talked about mitt romney seeming to think that foreign policy is playing battle ship. i think that he seemed to cross lines. risk being viewed as being unpresidential in those kind of attacks. the other striking thing i think is what joe pointed out. this was mitt romney trying to be presidential bipartisan, sort of above the fray and obviously an effort not to sound like george w. bush and
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the result, i think, was that in this effort not to sound like george w. bush he spent a good part of the night sounding like barack obama, making those sound arguments that the president made. >> megyn: that is a comparison that team obama tried to paint to paint romney ryan as the next bush-cheney. bret? >> bret: i was really surprised about the libya thing. i think the president even tried to go back to libya to draw him out and possibly get engaged on the libya topic. let's go back to fox news senior political analyst brit hume and "fox news sunday" anchor chris wallace, both in washington. brit, first your thoughts. >> brit: well, one thought would be, i thought bob schieffer did a good job in the same way jim lehrer did which was by keeping a light hand in letting the candidates go at it as much as possible. the ii thing i thought about this was mitt romney had a job tonight. that was to come across as a plausible commander and chief. it would have been very damaging to him if there had been areas of the world and subject matters raised by the questions or raised by the president that he didn't seem to really know anything about. i didn't detect such a moment.
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he seemed to me smooth and fluid and well informed about all the matters that came to hand and he had something to say about all of them. i don't think it hurt him that he and the president didn't have broad disagreements about some of these matters because i don't think these are the issues on which the election is likely to be decided. i do think that he did effectively use the economy and the weakness of the economy as a weapon in a debate about foreign policy and our position in the world. i would say this about the president. i thought the president was looking as he well might have for a default expression. this was -- these debates are about what everybody -- what the candidates say but also about how they appear. when the other person is talking because there is so much of this is on a split screen. the president had a very intent look on his face. i wouldn't describe it as a mean look. i would describe it as a man looking for opportunities to strike. the president -- governor romney, it seemed to me, has this kind of benign default expression in which he appears to be interested most of the
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time. he has a slight smile on his face but not a smug one. i wonder if his was not the more attractive default expression because that kind of thing matters. i thought the president did well and argued his points well. i thought he was burdened time and again by the record. it's very difficult to talk about how well you are going to do against iran when iran is nuclear program which have you pledged to stop is still going on. it's very hard to talk about the strength of the economy when we all know the economy is not strong. so i thought that the president did a good job arguing what, because of circumstances, may be the weaker case. >> bret: chris, a number of fact checks along the way. >> chris: yeah, let me first give you my general opinion. and that was, i thought in the middle of the debate that if i had been on the desert island for the last four years and i had just been parachuted into this debate, i would have thought the guy that had turned out to be mitt romney was the president protecting a lead and that barack obama was the challenger trying, somewhat desperately to catch up. obama was slashing, was personal, was cutting. i thought that romney was big
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picture, seemed to have much more of an agenda for the future than the president did. and i emailed one of his top aides in the course of debate and said what's behind this strategy? and clearly he was not taking the bait. not getting into fights with barack obama. and this official said this is all mitt romney's idea. this is how he wants to conduct this debate. now, let's get into some fact-checking. the first fact on which they disagreed had to do with this question as to whether or not the president charged mitt romney wanted to keep troops in iraq after they were -- the vast majority were pulled out. let's play the clip. >> you and i agreed, i believe, that there should have been a status of forces agreement. >> that's not true. >> oh, you didn't want a status of forces agreement. >> no. what i would not have done is left 10,000 troops in iraq that would tie us down. that certainly would not help us in the middle east. >> i'm sorry, you actually -- there was an effort on the part of the president to have a status of forces agreement. >> well, in fact, i think you have to give the points to mitt romney on that.
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provided as part of the troop withdrawal by george w. bush and in a deal with the iraqi prime minister is that there would be a status of forces agreement and that there would be a residual force there was talk of it as little as 5,000. the military wanted closer to 20,000. the person put in charge of it was joe biden, the vice president, and at one point he said i will bet you my vice presidency, mall lack can i, the prime minister will extend the status of forces agreement. but it all fell apart. they never got it it's clear romney was right. obama was wrong. obama wanted and failed to get a status of forces agreement. the other thing and we talked moment when obama --is very rather, romney was talking about how obama was going to gut the military. and obama said well, you don't understand what the military is today. let's play that. >> i think governor romney may be -- hasn't spent enough time looking at how our military works. you mentioned the navy, for example, and that we have fewer ships than we did in 1916. well, governor, we also have
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fewer horses and bayonets because the nature of our military has changed. we have these things called aircraft carriers where planes land on them. we have the ships that go underwater. nuclear submarines. >> well, as it turns out, in the middle of the debate, after he heard this a marine tweeted fox news and said: the marines still use bayonets, so it may not be clear who doesn't understand what the military currently uses. finally, very briefly on the auto bailout, in an editorial that romney wrote in november of 2008, which had the headline he didn't write it, let detroit go bankrupt. he did argue for bankruptcy, a managed bankruptcy but at the end he he said: the federal government should provide guarantees for post bankruptcy financing and assure car buyers that their warranties are not at risk. so at least on that point, again, romney seems to have had the record straight. >> bret: chris, brit, thank you, megyn, over to you.
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>> megyn: when we come back, charles krauthammer with his thoughts and greta van susteren. stay with us.
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dad vo: ok, time for bed, kiddo. lights out. ♪ (sirens)
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(train horn) ♪ vo: wherever our trains go, the economy comes to life. norfolk southern. one line, infinite possibilities. >> bret: welcome back to boca raton, florida, lynn university here. let's go to greta van susteren in washington for what she thought of the debate and what she has coming up "on the record." greta? >> thanks, bret. we are here with pat buchanan. he served as senior advisor to nixon, ford and reagan. presidential candidate himself. pat, how do you measure who won? what's your criteria and who won? >> well, the criteria that i have is that mitt romney had to come in here and show himself to be able to be the first dip in the country.
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he had to show himself to be the commander and chief. he had to show himself knowledgeable in foreign policy. i think he accomplished that, so that is a victory for him. and i also believe that he avoided the pitted fall of this debate which is the democrats and president obama wanted to push him out there into sort of a belly coast individual who is going to give certain weapons to the syrians, get us into that war. get us in war with iraq. mitt romney avoided that consciously, i think and deliberately. he was a very reasoned but tough here. so i think in those terms, he wanted. he had a couple of interventions terrific in there. i do think the president started off stronger. i think if you take a look at the two men at the end of the debate, greta, mitt romney was smiling, he was relaxed. he looked like a winner. and the president seemed -- was making some petty attacks on him, i though out, and seemed like he was us from the straighted and not ending the way he wanted. i think overall, i mean, mitt romney did everything he had
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to do. if you had made debate on points, clearly areas in there where the president beat romney clearly, but i think overall it was sort of even debate but you have to say mitt romney is the winner. he accomplished what he came to do. >> greta: if there is no daylight between them on so many matters of foreign policy, if you are truly an undecided and if you are going to base your entire decision on tonight, you are going to make your decision basically on probably what you should who do you like better? who might have come across better or who was more effective? i mean, it's hard to make a decision based on this one. >> let me say one -- i mean, i am an economic patriot or economic nationalist. i thought mitt romney's answer on china, we don't want war with china. we want to work with them. they are a great power. but then he laid out the abuses that they have put down there and have got to put an end to these things. look, we want free trade, he is saying, but we're not going to accept cheating and all the rest of it. and we're going to have some responses to that i think that has a tremendous appeal,
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especially in the industrial midlands of the country. >> greta: i think if i were to say what i like best that governor romney did tonight it wasn't until the very end when he looks into the camera and he says to the american people something i will work with you. and i think, you know, with all the sort of problems that the american people have had with washington, i thought that was effective. anyway, pat, we have got to go. thank you. >> um-huh. >> greta: be sure to join us again at midnight for a special hour of "on the record." carl rove and political panel will be here plus more. we will see you at midnight. right now back to you, bret. >> bret: all right, greta, thanks. see you then. >> megyn: when we come back, charles krauthammer joins us live with his thoughts. don't go away live here in boca raton, florida. everyone has goals. take the steps to reach yours, with us with real advice, for real goals. the us bank wealth management advisor can help you.
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every step of the way. from big steps, to little steps. since 1863 we've helped guide our clients, so they can take the steps to help grow, preserve, and pass along their wealth. so their footsteps can help the next generation find their own path. all of us serving you. us bank music is a universal language. but when i was in an accident... i was worried the health care system spoke a language all its own with unitedhealthcare, i got help that fit my life. information on my phone. connection to doctors who get where i'm from. and tools to estimate what my care may cost. so i never missed a beat. we're more than 78,000 people looking out for more than 70 million americans. that's health in numbers. unitedhealthcare.
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the spinners for both
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campaigns out here in spin alley in the post debate wake. you can see people under signs what we want to go to washington, d.c.. that is where charles krauthammer is live. charles, your thoughts tonight? >> i think romney won. he didn't just win tactically, but strategicly. he needed to draw and continue momentum he's had since the first debate. he had to go up there and show he's a competent man, a man who knows every area and give extra interesting details that gave the impression he knows what he's talking about. but there is a third level here, that is what happened in the debate. we can argue about small points and debating points. romney went large, obama went very, very small. romney made a strategic
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decision not to go after the president on libya, syria, or other areas where obama could be accusing him of being a bush-like war monger. boy have gone after obama about libya like a baseball bat. what he did concentrate on is the big picture, people don't care what our policy on syria is going to be. they care about how america is perceived in the world and how america carries itself in the world. the high point is when he devastatingly leveled the charge of obama going around on at polling tour. about a week of that. romney's response to say, to quote obama saying we dictate to other nations and romney said we liberate them. and obama was speechless.
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obama, so that is the large picture, america is strong and respecting. what obama did is he kept interrupting and his responses were almost all very small, petty attacks. lowest was when he is talking about sanctions in iran. when ways working on sanctions you were investing in a company in china. i mean that is the kind of attack you expect from a guy running for city council for the first time, not what you expect from the president. personal attack about an investment when talking about iran? i thought romney had the day. he looked presidential. president did not. that is the impression i think that is going to be left. >> mitt romney sounded more on the right and how will that play? >> well, i think those on the right left would have loved to have been belacose in the but
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will understand why romney did it. he stayed away from pit falls. he did not allow himself to be painted as a war amonger. it's what reagan understood in 1980 and did well. >> charms kraut hammer, thank you. >> he mentioned sequester, massive cuts to the dpeens department, the pentagon coming up on january 2. the president said tonight the sequester will not happen. that was a key moment. will now, white house campaign is back and saying in the spin room just behind you, pressed on this, he said repeatedly everyone in washington agrees that sequester quote should not happen. and asked again and said it should not happen. will not happen has become should not happen. we'll see what happens with that. fox news teamed up with folks at twitter to find out what

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The Five
FOX News October 22, 2012 11:00pm-12:00am PDT

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